Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why I am stepping away from social media.

I live alone (I can hear my mother now… "don't tell the world that, Stephanie"). But I do. I am a 29 year old woman who works and has a crazy busy life and am never home except to eat a quick bite of dinner and sleep. I mean I do more than that sometimes… today I cleaned and did laundry and even caught up on some shows I was behind on…. while grading spelling tests…. I'm crazy, I know.

I really enjoy living alone. I had a wonderful roommate for four years. But here's the thing about marriage… when someone gets married, they don't want to live with you anymore. It happens and is totally understandable. So now, I can eat 5 nights of salad or chicken or string cheese/yogurt/apples (I'm a poor teacher who gets paid at the end of every month and was waiting for pay day people-- don't judge) and not worry about what someone else wants to eat. I can fold my laundry on the couch and leave it there over night and not have to put it away until after work the next night. I can watch whatever I want on TV and not feel the need to share the remote. It's glorious during this season. I love it actually.

However, sometimes, it can be super lonely. No one to talk to. No one to sit and share stories with. No one to catch up on current events with (Amanda Bynes… what are you doing??). So I have a confession to make… I have developed a really unhealthy relationship. I would even go as far as saying that I have become a bit obsessed with this relationship. This relationship is pretty one sided. I run to it to fill the time, silence or boredom. I lose sleep over it. I can stay awake an hour later than I had planned simply because I "need" some interaction in my life. The name of the relationship I am involved with is Social Media. Social Media keeps me up to date with what is going on. Social Media allows me to feel apart of people's lives when I am feeling lonely. Social Media is a reeeeeally simple way to waste hours of my life and pass over more important things that I should be doing instead.

So, while others are doing their 30 Days of Thankfulness (I am not making fun… I do it every year), I will be fasting from social media. No Facebook. No Instagram. No Myspace and Xanga (haha kidding… just seeing if you were paying attention). Some of you may ask, "why are you doing this? what is the purpose? what do you plan to get out of it?" I am so glad you asked… here is what I came up with:

1) Less Digital… More Spiritual

Every morning…. EVERY MORNING… after my alarm goes off, I will lay in bed and check my Facebook and Instagram. Who wrote me? Who liked my pictures? What were normal people (aka not teachers) doing after 10pm on a school night? I want this to change. I want my first thought in the morning not to be, "what is going on in the digital world?" but rather, "what can I do for the Kingdom today?" If my first initial thought in the morning isn't about the Lord and spending time with Him, then I am definitely placing my hopes, desires, and attention in an idol. (Cue Jimmy Needham's song Clear the Stage).

2) Less Negativity

I try to be a person on Facebook who encourages, challenges and speaks about Jesus's love for us in a way that reflects Him well. But everyone doesn't feel that way. There is a lot of discouraging things on Facebook and Insta that can be weighty on your life. Angry posts about teachers. Rude comments about friends. Dumb opinions about things that people aren't that knowledgeable about in the first place. I may not pay attention to it… but it takes a toll. And I would rather be filled with Gospel truths rather than Gossip half-truths.

3) Looking Up 

How many times have I been so enamored by the fact that someone commented on my Facebook status that I didn't pay attention to the person I was having a "conversation" with? I don't think twice about pulling out my phone at dinner and zoning out of real life conversations that are going on around me. Yesterday, I realized I was at a table after school with a work friend and that I was staring at my phone rather than talking to her. How incredibly rude and selfish is that? I don't want to be that person. It's time for me to stop looking at my screen and start looking up. I want to see the good and be intentional with people. How can I do that when I am watching the latest video of Ellen's interns at a haunted house instead of having an intentional conversation? My word I want to focus on this year is serve. How can I serve others well when I am not taking the time to look up and see what they are going through? How can I be a clear reflection of Jesus in their times of hurt or need or even joy, when my head is in a permanent state of being down? I can't… and I won't be effective.

4) Be Love.

I have a lot of friends that are going through some really difficult situations. I am going though a lot of junk of my own that needs to be placed at the feet of Jesus. It is really easy for me to get distracted. Like, really easy. It is 100x worse when I have a phone blowing up with Insta and Facebook likes and comments. I desire to be an encourager. I desire to love the people the Lord has placed in my life well. I desire to be on my face interceding on their behalf, sending them letters and and spending time praying for the people in my life that don't know Jesus. This time away from social media distraction, I hope, will deepen my love for my friends and family and my yearning to be a prayer warrior for them.

5) Jesus.

And last but not least… it all comes down to Jesus. If I care more about what is going on in the world… or even my little social media world… more than what is going on in my heart, I have an issue. Yes, sometimes I am super lonely. Yes, sometimes I am looking for acceptance and affirmation in things/people rather than Jesus. So this will be a great time to remind me of who I am and whose I am.

So yeah, I started a few days late, but I am saying "see you later" to social media. Completely expecting to have some sweet time with Jesus and be reminded of who my worth and satisfaction truly comes from. It isn't people-- it is Jesus. 

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